Puppies, puppies, puppies! Millions of us love puppies. The way they smell, the way they play, the way they snuggle, the way they make a mess… Well maybe not that part. Unfortunately there are far more puppies born every year than can possibly find good homes. Add to that number all the puppies, that do find homes, but are soon given up or abandoned because of poor training.
There is a flood of dog training shows on television right now. If you have watched any of them, hopefully you’ve caught the theme. It’s not the dogs, who have problems, it’s the owners. I won’t begin to give you advice on correcting behaviors, I’ll let the real professionals do that. What I will tell you is how to housetrain a puppy in 6 weeks or less. And if you stick to the plan, this short time will not only save your carpets, but will provide bonding time for the whole family and make a wonderful lifetime companion. And like the behavior shows, if this doesn’t work for your dog, I’d be willing to bet, you have failed to follow the plan to the letter.
This foolproof method involves one simple rule, The 3 in One Rule…
The puppy or even adult dog, is at all times, never ever any place else but IN one of these three locations…
1. In the lap
2. In the grass
3. In the kennel
1. In the Lap: What this really means is keep the puppy in your lap. This is your bonding time, play time and cuddle time. Rough play time is for outside. Later, about 4 weeks from now, you can have short play sessions on the floor, as long as the second you stop to rest, the puppy goes outside. But, let’s say your dog is a Newfoundland puppy, your lap may not be an option. If you’re not having a lap dog, keep a rug on the floor right by your feet. The puppy must stay on the rug. Once they get fussy and want to move. On to number 2 In the Grass. Be careful letting the puppy walk to the door, it takes only a second for him to squat and lose all the previous training. For small dogs, carry the puppy to the door. You can gradually lengthen the walk to the door as you continue to have success. Every failure can set you back. Don’t set the puppy up for failure. Those bladders are small and need to grow along with the muscles used to control them. It’s easy to watch a dog in your lap, but you need to be equally vigilant when the dog is on it’s rug. Eventually that rug will become a source of security and no matter where the dog may be, they will feel better if their rug, or what’s left of it, is nearby.
2. In the Grass: This doesn’t mean toss the puppy out the door and walk away. For the first 4 weeks, follow your puppy and be ready to hand out the praise when your pup finally goes about their business. Don’t scare them, but really lay on the praise in an upbeat happy voice. Bundle up if it’s cold or wet out there and tough it out until the puppy finishes. Hey, we use the nice warm indoors, why would a puppy go outside if we’re not willing to hang out with them. They’ll just hold it and when no one’s looking go in the warm, dry place. That’s why Rule 2 only works if you’re faithful to Rule 1. Not many dogs will soil the lap or bed they are resting on. So when the wiggles start that’s a clue that the bladder is getting full. “The Grass”, can be anywhere you wish the dog to use, but not your neighbor’s yard please. Once the puppy is finished play time can begin, or you can step inside for a bit. Just make sure you are there and praise for the first “happening” Don’t let the puppy back if until they have accomplished something. If nothing happens
3. In the Kennel: As I said earlier, most dogs won’t soil their living quarters. This is not a steadfast rule, however. I have had an Afghan hound, who didn’t care if she got dirty or not, (this was before I learned about the 3 Ins). And I had a toy poodle that just went where ever she was at the moment. Which turned out to be a problem that happens to older, spayed females. One pill a day took care of that problem. (and No, you can’t take the same medicine, for yourself, I already asked. I’m one of those older spayed females too!) So, anyway most dogs will keep their area clean. Get an appropriate sized kennel for your dog to stay in if you are not 1. in the lap or 2. in the grass with your puppy. Keep one half for his bed and leave some newspapers in the back. Could you go 8 hours without a potty break when you were little? Don’t expect a puppy to be able to hold their bladder for a full day while you are at work. If you can’t make it home over lunch, allow the puppy to use the papers until the time comes when they have grown enough to be able to wait. Some dogs may always need someplace to go as they are too small, that’s why a kennel is so wonderful. In addition the kennel also is a mobile security place for your dog. They have a home away from home. Besides, most of their play time should be with you, not with the couch.
Does it make sense? In the lap, in the grass, in the kennel. Stick to this schedule like glue. If you falter and the puppy has an accident, who’s fault is it? Just like a child can cause a disaster in the two seconds you take your eyes off them, a dog, can and will have an accident if you take your eyes off them for a second. Don’t set them or your kids, up for failure. This 3 point system has never failed me, I have even trained 4 miniature horses and not one of them has ever “gone” in the house, or when we are on a visit. (The ponies don’t spend more than 2 hours in a building, as that’s close to the maximum time they can physically wait) By following the 3 In way, your new puppy will remain with you and not end up having to find a new home, because of lack of commitment on your part. Remember it’s a puppy, not a video game… you can’t turn them off whenever you like. If you can’t make this 6 week commitment to your puppy, think about getting a plastic flamingo.
OK , off my soapbox, here’s a few more tips. Young puppies, eat and poop, in that order and that fast. As soon as your pup has eaten, while you’ve been watching, take them outside. You can gradually increase the lag time from food to out, but never make it more than 1/2 hour. We feed at night, before our supper, so we can let the dogs out right after eating. At 1` 1/2 years our two terrier mixes, need to go out almost immediately after dinner. Our two dwarf horses get fed inside twice a day and as soon as they finish, they go out with the rest of the herd. Stay with your puppy, no matter how cold and wet until they have accomplished The Deed. That way you are ready to praise them immediately. Reinforce that connection, potty praise. Works for kids, works for dogs. So…